Friday, February 26, 2016

Men, Emotions and the Romance Novel by Felice Stevens


If you've read any of my books (and I hope you have) then you know that the men I write about are not shy in showing their emotions. They express disappointment, hug their mothers and grandmothers and aren't afraid to cry.

I've been told that this isn't realistic. That men must remain silent and stoic, only showing how they feel through actions, not words. That a man won't freely say "I love you."

That real men don't show emotion.

Really?

Is that what we want to portray? That men are insensitive people who show more attention to their beer and cars than they do toward the person they love?

I call BS on that.

One of the first things you learn when you take a course on writing is to "write what you know." Anyone who's met me and met my husband knows that he is, for lack of a better word, talkative. He is not the strong silent type. He likes to talk. A lot. And he's emotional—he cries at commercials.

Oh, and did I mention he loves to shop? 

Yes I married an anomaly. So I am writing what I know. For almost 30 years I've been married to a man whose personality I've used bits and pieces of all my characters. He has a touch of Micah's arrogance, along with Josh's sweetness, Ryder ad Rafe's love and care of animals and Julian's love of good fashion. My husband was a wonderful son like Zach was to his mom and he loves a good party like Marcus. And like Alex, my husband lost a baby brother, although not his twin.

So I'm here to say that I love writing men who show their feelings. It doesn't make them less manly, or make them wimpy or effeminate (what does that even mean?). I plan to keep writing men who aren't afraid to cry at a corny movie or have a tender moment with their lover. If we are truly striving toward equality, we should want everyone to feel safe to take the hand of the one they love in public and give them a kiss without fear of being laughed at, thought of as weak or " a woman."  If we want to insist that love is love and everyone is equal, then we should not only allow men to be emotional, we should encourage it.

What do you think?

7 comments:

  1. I love everything about this! The men in your books aren't afraid to say what they feel, and I absolutely LOVE the good *feels* I get from those moments you give us. Only thing better is when my Hubs says things like that - LOVE THAT SO MUCH! Emotion, tenderness, romance. Very beautiful. And yes, VERY REAL.

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  2. That's stupid. My husband tells me he loves me every day...freely. He has cutesy pet names for me and our daughter. He makes voices for my stuffed tiger and elephant I have in our bed (yes I am 43 years and sleep with stuffed animals :-) ). He cries every time we watch "Star Trek: The wrath of Khan" and Mr Spock dies. He hugs his mother and he taught ME how to talk about feelings.

    So you go ahead and write men like that. They exist. I know - I'm married to one! <3

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    1. I didn't mean that what you wrote was stupid ofc. I meant that it's stupid to say that sensitive men aren't realistic.

      Sorry, I got worked up. I totally agree with you :-)

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    2. :)
      <3 Thank you!! I love hearing about your husband!

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  3. I totally agree with you; I married a sensitive man also. In fact, many years ago, our dentist, who was a 'Dr Welby' type, would tell me that my husband is a 'gentle man' with emphasis on the gentle. He is both - a gentle man and a gentleman. He cries when we watch the Hallmark Christmas movies and I love that. We also say 'I love you' numerous times during the day and he shows it when he holds my hand to give me the balance I need when stepping off a curb (I'm just a little bit off balance these days). Just FYI, we're in our late 60's and we've been married for 40 years; still treating each other as if we like each other. Thanks for the emotions, Felice and all the other writers that I read...keep them coming!

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